A driver stopped in traffic on the Singing Bridge in downtown Frankfort noticed a kayaker struggling to right an upside-down kayak in the river below and called 911. The driver lost sight of the kayaker in the murky water. Authorities said Imes' friends were farther downstream and didn't immediately realize he was missing. A four day intensive search began but the cold, murky water made rescue/recovery operations extremely difficult. Imes, who was not wearing a PFD, was recovered 3/23/2009, 100 yards down stream from where he was last spotted.
Frankfort, KY: A driver stopped in traffic on the Singing Bridge in downtown Frankfort noticed a kayaker struggling to right an upside-down kayak in the river below on Wednesday and called 911. The driver lost sight of the kayaker in the murky water. Authorities said Imes' friends were farther downstream and didn't immediately realize he was missing.
Franklin County emergency management director Deron Rambo said searchers found Imes' kayak, paddle and hat. Imes was not wearing a life jacke
swapContent('firstHeader','applyHeader');FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) â€” A search continues in
the Kentucky River for a Louisville man who disappeared while kayaking
with friends. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported the missing man is 64-year-old John Imes.
Frankfort Fire Department, Fire Chief, 314 W 2nd St Frankfort, Kentucky 40602 (502) 875-8511 Franklin County Coroner William C. Harrod 312 Washington Street Frankfort, KY 40601 Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM Phone: 502-227-4526 Fax: 502-875-3528 Email: email@example.com
Imes, who lived in the Highlands area of Louisville, was physically fit and had experience with sailboats, according his wife, who has not been identified. His family traveled to Frankfort Wednesday night and waited inside a nearby building as workers searched for his body Thursday.
After working until dark last night, Frankfort Emergency Management workers resumed efforts to drag the river this morning, Director Deron Rambo said. A search and rescue team from Pulaski County will bring advanced sonar equipment, typically used on lakes and large bodies of water, to Frankfort today, Rambo said. Search dogs and divers will also be part of the effort.
Four kayakers - Imes, two men and a woman - headed up river at 10 a.m. Wednesday, starting from the boat ramp at Benson Creek, said Frankfort Fire Battalion Chief Dan Shouse.
It is unclear how the four knew each other, but they were probably just acquaintances, he said. All of them were from Kentucky, Rambo said, but he doesn't know if any were from Frankfort.
After reaching Paul Sawyier Drive, they turned around and stopped to eat lunch at Rick's White Light Diner at the edge of the Singing Bridge.
"They had a meeting to decide whether they wanted to call it a day or keep going," Shouse said.
Since the weather was good, they decided to continue, he said."The first three put in, the fourth put in, they went on and got down past the boat dock before somebody noticed that the fourth wasn't with them," he said. At about the same time - 1:34 p.m. - a woman called 911. She was riding in a car across the Singing Bridge, and she'd seen Imes struggling in an overturned kayak.
"He was upside down and struggling to get back upright," Shouse said. "His head did come up a few times he was trying to right himself." Emergency workers responded within minutes, said Shouse, who happened to be walking across a nearby street when the call came.
They found Imes' kayak floating in the river. His car was still parked nearby, so firefighters geared up for the rescue effort.
Fire officials activated the department's Technical Rescue Team and Dive and Rescue Team, Shouse said. Eight divers combed the area in shifts of 15 to 20 minutes, their endurance challenged by the frigid 50-degree water, which made it harder to breathe. Visibility under water was limited, and they relied mostly on their hands to search.
Onlookers lined the bridge, leaning on the railing for hours as rescue workers stirred the river with poles. Others wandered into the parking lot behind Paul Sawyier Public Library to watch and wait.
After two hours of searching, emergency workers shifted their focus from rescue to recovery. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Frankfort Emergency Management took over the search, which continued until dark.
Rambo said attempts to use underwater cameras and surface-level sonar were unsuccessful.
The current was strong Wednesday, but Shouse said he can't determine why Imes overturned.
"Without someone actually witnessing what happened, why this kayak capsized," Shouse said. "It's all just speculation."